You’ll Have to Relearn Most Life Lessons

There are about as many life lessons out there as there are lives (and opportunities to screw them up). But there is one lesson that is common enough to all of them.

You’ll have to relearn most of your life lessons.  

This is not a fun truth to swallow. We kind of figure that life lessons are a one and done kind of deal. We like to think that once we gain wisdom (especially the wisdom that comes from experience), we won’t have to deal with the associated problems again.

The reality is that we can never put wisdom on autopilot.

Wisdom and life lessons are sort of like vaccines. They can inoculate us against a certain strain of foolishness, but foolishness mutates and takes on new forms. Life challenges come at you in many different guises, and your wisdom may only have prepared you for meeting a guise of foolishness which no longer even exists.

What’s more, if a life lesson is especially important to your quality life, it’s probably the case that the problem that life lesson solves is a big one. And big problems tend to be persistent.

If you struggle with arrogance, you have had to learn how to decenter focus from your ego. If you struggle with low self-esteem, you have had to learn how to decenter focus from others. Maybe you’ve had to learn how to tell the truth consistently or reject things which make you a worse version of yourself. These things all take time.

So what happens when you screw up again in the same area?

You relearn.

Relearning life lessons takes more patience and more perception than learning life lessons the first time, but it is the meta skill of wisdom. Come to expect it, and it won’t catch you quite so much by surprise next time. Stay engaged and always be relearning.

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James Walpole is a writer, startup marketer, intellectual explorer, and perpetual apprentice. He opted out of college to join the Praxis startup apprenticeship program and currently manages marketing and communications at bitcoin payment technology company BitPay. He writes daily at